Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Balance Myth

A few weeks ago I read The Balance Myth by Teresa A. Taylor. It was recommended by a co-worker, and I was considering the author as a potential speaker for a women's leadership event I am coordinating this winter at work. I loved it because I benefited both personally and professionally from reading it! I so rarely spend my free time reading nowadays so killing two birds with one stone was fantastic. I also got the chance to chat with Teresa on the phone, which really brought the book to life! (She's fantastic.) Anyway, this week especially I was so glad I had some of her words of wisdom in the very back of my brain...because I needed them. Teresa talks about the frustration working mamas experience while searching for "balance" between their work & personal life, and suggests that instead of looking at it as a zero-sum game, since most of the time, you can't take the mother out of the career woman or the career out of the mother, you can use both to your advantage. Anyway, I don't want to ruin the book (in case you want to read it) but that's a little preview. And here's where you can find it: (right here).

Do you ever feel like you are getting a C- in every area of your life? (This is something Teresa addresses.) Like maybe you started your day by dropping your son off at daycare with butter coating his adorable head of hair? (Because he might have rubbed his buttered whole wheat toast into his head, laughing the entire time, while you were driving and could do nothing to stop him.) If this has never happened to you, see exhibit A (below) for reference. Nothing makes a mama feel like she ain't doin' her job like a dirty kid!

Here is the little man eating a harmless banana. Hard to see but butter was coating every strand of hair, giving him that handsome grease-ball look.
Or maybe you had one great lunch meeting at home with your husband and son (see exhibit B, below...Jack went to town on some mashed potatoes and macaroni & cheese and warmed my heart with every bite) ...but then a HUGE miss a few days later when a lunch meeting (that was really important to you) fell off your calendar and you showed up 40 minutes late (no picture to document that moment. So mortifying.)

These aren't even great pictures but I love this kid so much that watching him eat just fills my mama heart with joy! 

It's so easy to get caught up and feel like a total and complete failure, because even if you are doing great in one area, one tiny slip up in another area (for the Type A, high-achieving working mama) becomes the thing you focus on. It's hard to fight that feeling ("I'm a failure! Why can't I get it all right all the time?!"), because that innate desire for excellence is what makes you continue to achieve so much in every area of your life. So I'm not recommending that (I can't do it myself). Instead, I'm saying cut yourself some slack, mama. You are doing great!

I took this picture tonight to remind myself that I am doing just fine. Why? Because I got to enjoy a homemade lasagna with three of my favorite boys. YUM! Shiny gold star for this working mama. :) 

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